Heroes of Graxia is a game by Daniel Kroegel, published by Petroglyph Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be building their decks as they prepare themselves to fight monsters of every shape and size as well as their opponents. The player that is best able to manage their cards will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player will choose one of the Hero character cards and take it’s corresponding miniature. They will then compile their starting deck with a myriad of 12 different cards, all of which will be the same as every other player’s deck. The rest of the cards are separated by type and each pile is shuffled together. There will be a separate stack for spells, units, equipment and monsters. There will also be a pile of wound and victory point cards. Depending on how many players are playing, will determine the number of monster cards in the game. Once shuffled the 4 decks will be placed in order and the top 4 cards of each will be laid out face up beside the respective decks. Both players shuffle their deck and draw 5 cards. Play now begins.
On a player’s turn, he may be able to do up to 2 actions. Those actions are draw a card, play a spell, heal wounds, place a unit from their hand, attach a card to a unit, swap equipment cards from their hand, move or swap attached cards, pick up a card and attack a monster or hero. Drawing a card is just that, you draw a card from your deck. Playing a spell is done by choosing an appropriate non-combat spell from your hand and playing it. Healing wounds is done by paying gold points. Each gold point spent heals 1 point of damage. Placing a unit from your hand is done by choosing a henchmen or army unit and placing it beside your character. Attaching a card is done by choosing an armor, weapon or aura card and attaching it to a character or unit card. There may be only one of each attached unless otherwise stated. Swapping equipment cards is done by simply exchanging an attached with one from your hand. Moving a swapped equipment card is done by simply detaching it from one unit and placing it on another. Picking up a card is done by simply choosing a card on your side of the field and placing it back into your hand. Units can’t be picked up until all of their attached cards have been picked up first. Attacking a monster or player is a little bit more detailed, so I’ll discuss that in a moment.
Cards can be bought from the face up cards at any time except during combat. This is done by discarding cards from your hand for the gold cost on each card. The gained card is put into the player’s discard pile and then a new card is drawn to replace it. This is not counted as one of a player’s 2 actions.
A player may attack only once per turn, either a monster or another player. When attacking a monster, you will follow these steps. Declare which monster you’re attacking. Play any mercenary units from your hand. Play up to one spell card per unit on your field. Total the attack values of all units including attachments. If the total value meets or exceeds the monster’s health it is defeated. Next the total defense of a player and it’s units are added up and compared to the monster’s attack value. Any numbers over the player’s defense result in wounds that the player must distribute however they choose between their units. The monster is placed in that player’s loot pile. If the monster isn’t defeated it is returned to the bottom of the monster deck. Either way, a new monster replaces the old monster face up on the field. All one time use cards are placed into the discard pile.
When attacking another player, the same things happens with a few changes. The defending player draws cards until they have 5 in their hand before the attack starts. The attacking player receives 1 prestige point that is placed into their loot pile. Attacking and defending player’s alternate playing spell and mercenary cards with the same one spell per unit rule until both players pass. The total attack is compared to the defending player’s defense. Any number over the defense is considered wounds to be distributed. Next the defender adds their attack that is compared to the attacker’s defense. Once again, any number over the defense are wounds to be distributed. Prestige points are awarded for units or heroes eliminated and placed in the player’s loot pile. One time use cards are discarded.
All of this continues back and forth with each player buying, attacking, etc… until either the monster deck is exhausted or a certain amount of prestige points have been acquired by a player in their loot pile. The game ends and scoring occurs. Victory points are given for each prestige point, trophy value in the loot pile, the player’s deck, discard pile and on their side of the field. The player with the most points is the winner.
This game consists of mostly cards. Believe me, there are a lot of cards. The artwork on these things is great. Very reminiscent of Magic the Gathering or World of Warcraft. The cards are very sturdy and look really nice, front and back. There are several plastic miniatures for each hero that is available to play in the game. This is a nice little addition as well. I don’t really see any real reason to have included them but they’re nice either way. The look and feel of the game is great. It’s very thematic throughout. The only thing that could have been done different would have been some card board chits or counters instead of using cards to keep track of wounds and prestige points. Other than that, I really liked everything here.
8 out of 10
The rulebook is a double sided, multi-folded sheet of large paper. It’s black and white but explains everything really well. There’s nothing too difficult to understand or too hard to read. There is a picture of how to set up the game and how to read the cards, but that’s all. It gets the job done, just not as nice and colorful as it could have. Still, it’s not a bad design as it fits nicely into the box.
8 out of 10
The game is fun. It’s definitely a different style of deck builder than I’m used to. It feels like a mash up between a deck builder and Magic the Gathering. There’s definitely a lot of adding and subtracting to keep up with. It might be a good idea to keep a calculator close by. I’d really have liked to seen a little bit of variation with the player decks. I know that most deck builders stick with the same type and amount of cards for a starting deck, but this game seemed to be begging for deck construction. I could definitely see this being used for tournaments. It definitely lends itself that way. The game can take a bit of time as the adding and subtraction do take awhile to get right. Still even with the extended play time, the game feels pretty smooth. I really like fighting the monsters and buying new cards. My first game with player combat wound up destroying me. I really didn’t do too well at all. Still, it was fun to play.
9 out of 10
Heroes of Graxia is a medium weight deck builder style game. I really love the artwork in this game. The theme definitely comes through really well. As I stated earlier in the components section, I really wish that there had been tokens or chits instead of cards for prestige points and wounds. The cards look so similar that I found myself grabbing the wrong thing numerous times. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d used different colored cards like maybe a gold color for the prestige points instead of the same burgundy color as the wounds. The game does take a bit longer that I would have expected it to. It’s definitely more complex than my other deck builders. Still the game is fun. I recommend this game for fans of Magic the Gathering, World of Warcraft and deck builders. Others players might not like the feel of this one. I think the best way to play would be with more people. However that will definitely increase the play time. In any case, this is a relatively inexpensive game to buy. Give it a try, you just might like it.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Petroglyph Games at their site.